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Halo Reach: Early Sales Predict Blockbuster

Gamers lined up for blocks to be among the first to buy a copy of the latest installment in the hit video game franchise.
Halo Reach bolted from the gate midnight Monday, and early sales data already indicate the title will be another blockbuster for producer Bungie and publisher Microsoft, as well as the retailers that carry it.

As of midmorning, the basic, $59 version of Halo Reach was the top selling video game on Amazon.com, while the $79 Limited edition held the second place spot. The Legendary edition, which includes 10" character figurines designed by Todd McFarlane and sells for a whopping $149, was in sixth place on Amazon's real-time list of top-selling video games on its site.

A $399 bundle that includes a Halo Reach-emblazoned, 250GB Xbox 360 console and wireless controllers, as well as the basic edition of the game, was in seventh spot.

Microsoft and retail partner Best Buy, meanwhile, held launch parties Monday night in New York, Seattle, and London, England. If the crowds at the New York event translate into ongoing sales, Halo Reach should be a huge hit.

Crowds lined up around the block at Best Buy's Times Square location, as gamers hoped to be among the first to get their hands on a copy of Halo Reach. A lucky few were also chosen to attend a launch party inside that featured Bungie and Microsoft execs, and live entertainment from Grammy-nominated R&B and hip-hop artist Kid Cudi.

Halo Reach, an Xbox 360 exclusive, is billed as a prequel to the original game. "Halo Reach follows the story of Noble Team, a squad of heroic Spartan soldiers as they make their final stand on planet Reach, humanity's last line of defense between the terrifying Covenant and Earth," according to Microsoft.

The game features a new graphics engine that offers enhanced visuals over its predecessors, Microsoft said. The software maker said it expects total sales from all editions of Halo to surpass $2 billion this year.

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